1953 was big year for American cars. Which of these four would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

1953 was big year for American cars. Which of these four would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings


As it happened, 1953 turned out to be a pretty big year for the domestic auto industry. Material shortages initiated by the Korean war had ceased to be a problem, 50th-anniversary celebrations spawned special models, and several manufacturers were in the process of, or had just introduced, a new line of V-8 engines. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating the domestic class of 1953. Let’s take a closer look at four fun examples for you to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

Chevrolet wasn’t on the anniversary list this year, but it did make a mark for itself by introducing the Bel Air into its own line of top-tier cars. Simultaneously, the entry-level 150 designation effectively replaced the Special, while the 210 Series – like this four-door sedan – supplanted the mid-priced Deluxe line. With the exception of the station wagon, this would be the only four-door passenger car in the 210 series this year. Costing $1,761 (or $17,180 today), it came standard with a 108-hp straight-six engine and manual transmission. It was also the biggest seller in the series, attaining 332,497 buyers. According to portions of the seller’s listing:

It underwent a complete frame off restoration by Skyline restorations in 2010/2011 where it was totally gone through. It features a two tone Horizon Blue and Regatta Blue combo which works well on a 50s car like this. The body is all rust free and the steel panels all straight. All of the chrome and trim pieces are in good condition with a nice shine. The glass is all new, in good condition and is tinted. It has 70,920 miles on the odometer and based on its condition these are believed to be original. The inline 6 cylinder motor runs well and still utilizes its original 6 volt system but an 8 volt battery was added for extra starting power. It is combined with a column shifted 3 speed manual transmission that moves through the gears smoothly. The brakes, hoses, wheel bearings, gas tank, sending unit, exhaust, etc., were all replaced during the rebuild. The interior is done in a two tone to match the body. The upholstery is in excellent condition and it has a bench in front and rear. The dash has the stock layout and keeps with the two tone Blue theme which looks very clean. Even the steering wheel has the two tone look which looks really sharp.

Conversely, Ford was honoring its 50 years in the business of building and selling cars. But other than a little levity, not much was made of the anniversary except for special steering wheel trim. This meant the lineup remained unchanged from the previous year, with the entry-level Mainline and upscale Crestline series book-ending the Customline, such as this two-door Club Coupe. It was offered in six-cylinder guise starting at $1,743 (or $17,004 today), or with the famed “flathead” V-8 at $1,820 (or $17,755 today) without options. Our featured example contains the V-8, making it one of 43,999 built during the year. According to portions of the seller’s listing:

Inside is a tasteful gray interior. The comfortable velour-like cloth has the fresh feeling of a more recent investment, but this design has a great ’50s look that will keep you loving this vintage ride. In fact, this one really likes to keep the classic attitude going, right down to details like the working AM radio. And don’t forget to check out the steering wheel. 1953 was Ford’s 50th anniversary, and so these have a special center cap commemorating it. Ford’s flathead V8 is a legend all on its own for the power it provides, and the 239 cubic-inch displacement would be the largest installed in the Ford cars. It presents well in the engine bay with the tall oil bath air cleaner and copper-colored block/heads. This is a well-maintained package that fires up readily. You get proper control from the column-shifted three-speed manual transmission and the manually engaged overdrive adds to the cruising versatility.

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